April 2012: Foraging

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Our speaker in April was Chris Bax, a forager who lives near Knaresborough and is becoming well-known in food circles.

Chris took us through a fascinating “walk” around woodland, roadsides and the coast, looking at pictures of all the natural plants that can be eaten safely. We were told what time of year to pick the various leaves, how to use them in salads and how they can be included in other recipes, such as soup.

There were a few surprises along the way, such as some plants being edible despite it being common belief that they are poisonous. However, Chris warned us to be careful too – it is all too easy to confuse an edible plant with an inedible one which looks quite similar and give yourself serious stomach problems. But he told us the key identifying traits to look out for to keep us safe and reassured us that, in all the years he has been foraging, he has never poisoned himself or his family!

Chris is becoming very well known and has taken part in several television programmes about foraging and cooking with wild plants. When he visited us, he told us he was due to appear on Countryfile a few days later, and that he was working on a top-secret new project with a famous chef. He runs courses throughout the year, but they are in high demand so have to be booked a long way in advance.

For more about Chris Bax, visit his website.

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About Spa Sweethearts WI

A young, fun and diverse 'new wave' WI based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. We encourage women to leave their preconceptions of the organisation at the door and find out what the modern WI is really like. Guests are welcome at our meetings - why not give it a try? Spa Sweethearts WI meets on the second Thursday of each month, 7:30pm, at St George's Social Club, St George's Road, Harrogate.

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